Translated by Saed Bannoura

An interview with Zakaria Zubeidi, the leader of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin.

“Talks about a state of chaos in Palestinian areas are baseless” Zubeidi told Arabs48 news website. “yes, few groups were forced to carry arms in order to fill the gap created after Israel destroyed the ability of PA official security to fulfill its role, but that happened with the intention of enforcing law and order” he added.

The leader of the group, who recently torched two PA offices, including the headquarters of Intelligence, denied that his group helped create a state of chaos, claiming that his group has in practice worked to restore stability and security in the PA areas.

“We are under huge pressure because we lack a legitimate official status, because we moved to fight corruption, and because we stood against corrupted officials.” Zubeidi explained.

Q- Who are the corrupted officials you are talking about?

Al-Zubeidi: I am only talking about few leaders of security devices. We felt they were after our activists. No one answered to our concerns despite sending letters to all PA officials. But, you need to be sure that what happened in jenin has nothing to do with riots in Gaza.

Q- But your group torched to official PA offices?

Al-Zubeidi: look we went to the least damaging option. We did it at night to avoid casualties. We only caused damage to concrete and furniture. Even we did not target the ones we suspect are collaborating with the enemy.

The minute attempts were made to ride over Jenin events ad link it to the Gaza incidents, we immediately met with the governor of Jenin and the head of Intelligence security and ended the crisis.

I believe that if President Arafat can freely move, he would be able to control the situation and advance peace efforts.

Q- How do you see Gaza events and calls for reforms?

Al-Zubeidi: “There is a big difference between genuine demands of reforms, and demanding personal gains through raising the Reform banner.

In Gaza it was people demanding positions not fighting corruption.

For example, A short time ago I demanded that Jenin Governor should be replaces for corruption issue against him, I abducted him and threatened to do several things…he was replaced by direct orders of the president, Qaddoura Mousa took his position, I personally respect him because he is an honorable and respectful man, I never demanded to take the place of the governor. What happened in Gaza is a completely different story”.

Q- I can’t understand that you praise the Governor of Jenin, Qaddoura Mousa; after burning his office last week?

Al-Zubeidi: “We respect Mr. Qaddoura Mousa, personally respect him because he is a patriot and a leader, but he should have given the patriots and fighter a priority”.

Q- Some said you did so over not receiving your salaries.

Al-Zubeidi: That is not true; we demand respect and appreciation to the patriots, such the families of the martyrs, families of the wounded and imprisoned, even if what is provided to them are only small amount of money.

Q- it was repeatedly said that Al-Aqsa brigades are financed by the Lebanon Based Hezbollah party?

Al-Zubeidi: This is absolutely untrue. But let us suppose that the brigades were financed by Hezbollah, what’s wrong in this, Hezbollah is an Arab movement, it is not an Israeli one.

Q- But a leader of the brigades in Nablus admitted that they are financed by Hezbollah?

Al-Zubeidi: “We welcome any support to the Palestinians from any Arab side”

Q- What do you think of Dahlan’s threats to mobilize 30,000 Palestinians if reforms are not implemented by August 10.

Al-Zubeidi: it is obvious that the Palestinians are with Arafat, it is enough that Jenin refugee camp supports Arafat, President Arafat gave a lot and sacrificed a lot, this is not the first time in which the president is besieged, he was besieged several times before, he faced several sieges which were more difficult in Beirut, every time he managed to win.

You have to know one thing, chaos does not serve any interest in the middle east or in Israel, Israel should know that it is racing time with Arafat, he is the only one capable of making any important decision which decides the fate of the Palestinians, the Palestinian support Arafat,, Israel tried to deal with Dahlan and some other figures but they couldn’t bare the pressure, Arafat had been all of his life, he is 74 years old now, and still standing firm, facing all kinds of problems.

Q-some believe that the brigades no longer have a central leadership?

Al-Zubeidi: This in absolutely untrue, we have higher leadership.

Q-then, who is leading Fattah now; can you name the successor of Barghouthi?

Al-Zubeidi: “The successor of Barghouthi is Barghouthi himself, he isn’t dead, he is alive in prison, Nelson Mandela was leading the struggle of his nation while he was behind bars”.

Q- What are your dreams and aspirations concerning the future?

Al-Zubeidi: “I have no problem with myself, as far as I am concerned, the Palestinian have to gain their rights, I am willing to sacrifice myself for this aim, I will continue my struggle, if I die, there are several others to carry on, before me there was lots of patriots in Jenin; Ziad Al-Amer, Ala’ Al-Sabbagh, Zuheir Satteety, Ekrama Satteety and others, now I will fight and so will Ahmad, Yousef, Khaled, Mohammad… and others”.

Q- What do you think about Sharon’s Disengagement Plan which Sharon is talking about?

Al-Zubeidi: I am not the person who should talk about the plan, persons who claim calling for reforms like Dahlan are supposed to talk about it, and others, they should ask themselves, What about the West Bank?

Dahlan always said that he supports Sharon’s plan, and that the plan is progressing, but I never heard him talking about the West Bank, and what will happen there.

Any signed agreement, or future agreements, will never be implemented as long as it does not depend on the Security Council resolutions.